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Old Dec 18, 2004, 9:37 AM   #1
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First of all let me say that I'm thrilled with the 20D. My 35mm photography hit a barrier of cost & convenience when it came to getting into the darkroom, but digital makes itall possible at low cost. The 20D was the camera that got me to give up my 5Mp Konica P&S for DSLR.

Generally the picture quality with the 20D has been excellent, but I'd like to see how the camera performs with better glass.

Ideally I would like a single top quality wide to low-telephoto - equivalent to 28-135mm.

So that would be the focal length of the CANON EF-S 17-85mm lens, but it's not an L lens and the IS adds to the cost (at the probable expense of quality glass I suspect.) I assume that the EF-S 17-85mm is of similar quality to the EF-S 17-55mm, if it were significantly better and close to the L lenses then I would probably just go with that.

I don't think Sigma or Tamron do anything in their "pro" ranges at those focal lengths either, though they both have competitors for the Canon EF-S 17-85. If anyone knows of any rumours of imminent new lenses I would happily wait for a while.

Absent a "Pro" 17-85mm however, I guess I'll have to carry more than one lens.
My current thinking is that I could probably survive comfortably with:

1. Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DI (£330)
2. Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX HSM (£550)

For Choice 1 the Sigma is obviously just a straight replacement for my EF-S 18-55mm. The other contender was the Canon EOS 17-40mm L f4.0. Pluses for the Sigma are 50mm f2.8 v 40mm f4 for unposed "portraits", it's a fair bit cheaper. Pluses for the Canon are that it may be a little better at the corners, the focus is probably faster as the Sigma isn't HSM, and I can use it on my Canon EOS 50D. I think overall though the Sigma seems to be a quality lens and I could get 80% of my shots with it, whereas with the Canon I'd be swapping lenses a lot more.

http://www.jasonlivingston.com/sigma-review/

For choice 2 I have excluded the Canon 70-200mm L f2.8 as it is too expensive. Reviews suggest the quality of the Sigma is at least as good, if not a little better than the Canon 70-200mm L lenses. The Sigma EX f2.8 is the same price as the Canon L f4.0, and for a long lens I think the extra speed is worth the weight.

I reckon 80% of my shots will be on the standard zoom and only 20% on the telephoto. Though of course I don't have a telephoto now - so who knows what I'd do with it if I had the chance!

Comments please :-)


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Old Dec 21, 2004, 12:44 PM   #2
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Cunningly clever answer -

Go to www.pbase.com/jpferguson

Canon 28/135IS USM nough said !!
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Old Dec 21, 2004, 6:55 PM   #3
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Assuming that the EF-S 17-85IS is "the same quality as the EF-S18-55" isn't valid. The 17-85 has gotten a lot of bad press, mostly by folks who have never used it... or maybe I was just lucky and got a good copy. It's not a cheap lens.

This is an ideal "walk-round" lens. The range is nearly perfect. It could be faster, but the size/range/quality make this a great choice. I just bought a ($70) EF-50II for low light situations. I shot a bunch of candle lighted no flash pictures with this lens the other night and got about 80% keepers.

My next lens will be an EF-70-200 f4. I shop bargains in the quality range, I think I've found them.
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 9:33 AM   #4
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I got my camera in a hurry; I wanted the 17-85mm kit, but was going on holiday and couldn't find one. So I settled for the 18-55mm instead. Even if I have to give away the 18-55 I can't say I regret having the camera for the holiday.

Sincemy original post I've seen some good user/owner reviews of the 17-85mm.

I think I will probably take you're advice here. It would seem that my assumption of similar quality was wrong.

And to be honest, perhaps I've just got a good example of the 18-55mm, but some of my shots even wide open at 55mm have been really really sharp; improvements would have to be at the end of the camera where the user is situated. So even the "cheap" Canon lenses can be very good under the right conditions. The detail in the raw images is amazing; these two converted using the Canon Digital Photo Professional Utility.

http://www.peripatetic.org.uk/images...rdpark/owl.jpg (5Mb)

http://www.peripatetic.org.uk/images...rk/redibis.jpg (5Mb)

The consensus for the 17-85mm seems to be "not quite L grade, but very good nonetheless". And the "not quite" means at all apertures and focal lengths under all conditions. Underthe right conditions for the 17-85mmI'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Thanks for the advice.

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Old Dec 22, 2004, 10:07 AM   #5
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Sometimes a "pro" grade lens is a too oft wished for item. Let's face it, if you want the f2.8, L with IS, zoom lens you are going to really pay for it. It'll probably be a great lens but just realize you'll put out the bucks for it.

Now, on the other hand, while still not cheap, the 17-85 kit lens for the 20D is a very good choice that will yield you many shots enlargeable to 13x19 with no problems whatsoever. That's what I opted for. I got my 20D at the end of September and immediately flew off for a 2 week trip to Israel and came back with many keepers.

Sure, I had shots that I took that were too soft and not up to snuff with the lens. But, in retrospect and after considering why that might have been, I've come to the conclusion that most of it was me. Either I was expecting more from the lens/body setup under conditions that were too difficult (too little light therefore long exposure and handheld) for the setup or I just plain screwed up on the camera settings.

Another thing is that if you've come from the P&S world you'll be used to much larger DOF. The first thing you'll be likely to notice is that the dslr/lens combos are going to make you think a lot more about DOF.

So, can you tell that I like the 17-85? It's an ideal size for walking around. For 2 weeks in Israel all I did was walk around with the 20D/17-85 and they never tired me out when carrying around my neck. Yes, if I had more money at the time I might have gotten 2 lenses to cover that range that would have been quality lenses (the 17-40L from Canon and perhapsan L lens in the 28-80 range) but then I'd have had more trouble carrying that setup around and I would have been changing lenses often.

I also did notice some CA (PF)in a few of my shots with the 17-85, but in all cases easily corrected for and not enough to be a bother.

As far as a walkabout longer zoom lens, I had the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for 2 weeks before I returned it to B&H. Many people have found that to be a very good lens but I had focusing problems with it - it was probably just my copy of the lens. It was also pretty heavy at over 3lbs. I've opted toreorder and getthe Canon 70-200 f4L instead which should arrive on Friday. It's got a great rep for quality and it is light, really light, at only 1.5lbs and much cheaper than the Canon f2.8L IS version. Being 1 stop slower will hopefully be compensated by a higher ISO on the 20D. Along with that I ordered a Canon 1.4x TC and a Canon 300mm f4L IS. What a xmas!

Hope this helps you a bit!

Here are examples of shots I took with the 20D and 17-85 in Israel so you get an idea of what can be done with it:

http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpegs/IsraeliF15E.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...talReverie.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...lemSkyline.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...ibleThorns.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...illippiIDF.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...stShopping.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...Beatitudes.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...PoolChairs.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...ZamanBaker.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...Phillippi1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...arDaughter.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpegs/AncientFisher.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpegs/ArabBeggar.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpegs/Israel/Habibi.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~ffoegs/jpeg...gWallGrief.jpg

(Edit: links above fixed so can be seen with default Steve's Forums color scheme)

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Old Dec 22, 2004, 10:45 AM   #6
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That helps a lot - thank you.

Two things become immediately apparent:

1. Black on black is not the best way of doing links. :-)

2. With that setup there is a great deal of work to do at the user end before the equipment becomes a real limitation.A stunning set ofphotos!
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 11:01 AM   #7
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
1. Black on black is not the best way of doing links. :-)

2. With that setup there is a great deal of work to do at the user end before the equipment becomes a real limitation.A stunning set ofphotos!
On point (1) - oops, sorry about that. I cut and pasted those links from another document and with my color scheme on these forums they showed up fine... :rollI'll go fix the colors now).

On point (2) - thanks! That's my take on the situation also...

Glad I could be of help!!
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 11:59 AM   #8
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peripatetic, why do you think you need 70-200 f2.8? If you don't need the extra stop, canon's 70-200 f4 is a resonable cost option.
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 10:52 PM   #9
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
I can't say I regret having the camera for the holiday.
I think this is important to remember. As the economists
say don't forget the opportunity costs of waiting. I am
sure that the pictures were worth the amount of money
that the lens you got cost, and if you like the photos
from it there isn't any reason to sell or give it away.
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 11:30 PM   #10
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bobbyz, well - in the UK and SA at least the price of the Sigma f2.8 is the same price as the Canon f4. I spend my time between the two countries. Interestingly they have very different light

Why the extra f-stop? Well - I have romantic visions of taking photographs of the hah-de-dahs (Ibis I think) that wake me up at dawn every morning without a tripod. Of course the extra weight may be dangerous at that time of morning, and I might simply be better off setting up a tripod the night before.

The dawn light in Africa is simply stunning and Ibis are flighty birds; you can't get close enough to them with a 55mm to take a decent shot. I realise that this may seem like a rather narrow reason to commit myself to a huge lump of glass that will henceforce keep my chiropractor in good spirits.

Just shows the value of these forums, which is getting good advice. geoffs also recommends the Canon f4. And I think that it very likely that if I do find that I need a telephoto longer than the 17-85 I will probably go for the Canon.
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